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Flamenco Dancer - Personal Project

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Flamenco Dancer - Personal Project

Happy Thanksgiving weekend!

This is a wonderful time to reflect on the wonderful things, people and places that have influenced my life.  Of course, you probably already know that I was born in Sevilla, Spain.  Before you ask... No, we don't eat tacos there and tortillas are a completely different thing.  

My mother was full blooded Spaniard, falling in love with a young USAF airman from North Carolina and BAM! the world got me.  That was a very long time ago and while I lost my mom to cancer over 30 years ago, she has never been away from my heart.  

I think most people have fond memories of their parents and I'm no different in that way, but I remember some of the smallest moments with great clarity.  My mother overcame many obstacles to become a naturalized U.S citizen in the '60s and the challenges of being a single parent to two rambunctious boys.  Yes, I have a brother that was in love with Cleopatra.  Give it a minute... you will figure it out.

I recall with joy was my mom's passion for the arts.  She is an avid artist in her youth and constantly doodled anytime a pencil was in her hands.  I remember she would do little drawings in the margins of the checkbook register.  I loved visiting local museums with her and she amazed me with her explanations of the paintings, sculptures, and lives of the artists. Her face would always light up when telling a good story not found in my school textbooks.

She was a talented dancer, and in Spain - We Flamenco You can be sure I was more than a little excited when my Tita Maria - my auntie - sent my mother's custom flamenco dress from the '50s.  She was so tiny!  I can almost hear the click-clack of shoes popping the wooden floor during a performance.

It has taken some time to find the right model that can fit into the outfit and has the Spanish look to bring the art of the dance to my photography.  We found Cayden at a pageant in Tuttle, OK.  She has that the fire of perfection in her eyes!

On this Thanksgiving holiday, I'm especially grateful for my mother, who influence me as an artist and fueled my curiosity of the world.  Your legacy of the arts continues with me and I will pass along to my children.

Here is an example of Cayden working my mother's flamenco dress in the studio at Six One Six Studios in Moore, Oklahoma.  I'm sure you will see more of this personal project including a street shoot in Kansas City, MO., sister city to my hometown.

I would love to hear your comments below.  Wishing you all a fabulous holiday!

Flamenco-Nov2017-0028N-HIGH.jpg

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Helping Oklahoma Kids with RFBO Chefs' Feast

 The amazing photography crew for the  Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.   This is our 7th year to help cover and provide our Fantasy Photo Studio setup.

The amazing photography crew for the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.  This is our 7th year to help cover and provide our Fantasy Photo Studio setup.

Last night we had another chance to help the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma with their annual fundraiser, Chef's Feast.  The event was held at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum and the crew volunteered their talent to photograph the evening.

This year's theme was "Keep It Local" and based on the wonderful state of Oklahoma.  The RFBO staff never disappoints with the setup and decorations.  More than 20 great chefs participated in Chefs’ Feast this year! The event featured fantastic raffles, silent auction items, a new precious metal pull, and the ever-popular wine pull, where one bottle is valued at more than $225.

We can't thank enough all the wonderful people that help us during this amazing charity event.  Here is a quick shout-out for the crew, Jim Felder, Jen Tiffany & Vanessa Wells.

Check out this video about "The Backpack Program".  Please donate to RFBO to help stop hunger in our state.

Wondering why Robert isn't wearing the Trawick Images approved "Will Shoot for Food" t-shirt?  This gentleman offered to swap me shirts because "I love your shirt".  Maybe we should raffle off some of our t-shirts for charity next year.  Comment below with your thoughts and ideas.

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My 5 "C"s of 2017

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My 5 "C"s of 2017

The month of December is always a bit crazy but I work creating a direction for the new year that hopefully will improve me personally and in business. Last year was the "P" year and honestly I didn't '"prepare" as much as needed for the roller coaster ride of 2016 and didn't push the envelope in the "peace", "punctual" or "physical" areas. It still was better than 2015, but much improvement is still needed as I firmly believe we should never stop learning, pushing and growing.

This year, I decided that I would share my vision plan with everyone. It's not a business plan or a marketing plan, but a simple guide to help me make better decisions for 2017.  I'm passing along this information that others may find useful or give pause for thought and announce my "plans" for you to hold me accountable. If you see me failing in a "C" area, call me out. I promise you the growth expected will outweigh the embarrassment of you holding my feet to the fire. Then again, if you have a brilliant idea of another "C" category, please drop me an email or comment below.  Of course, you can see that this post already addresses one the "C" on my list.  So I am ahead, before I begin. LOL

I have a long list of tasks to accomplish for the new year and I know many will not get a check mark. But if you aim for the moon and miss... you will still land amongst the stars!

And yes, I'm at Clarity Coffee... which I should add as another "C" on my list.   Looking forward to hearing your comments.

Wishing you the best for the holidays and a fabulous New Year! 

 

The Five "C"s of 2017

CUTE

Present a good image.  Dress well. Be appropriate to the gig or event.  It's ok to be funny or even poke fun at yourself, but there is a fine line between "cute" and "clown".  I'm rolling in the healthy (or healthier) lifestyle in the "cute" factor here.  It's part of the image.

COOL

Being cool is different to many people, but it's basically maintaining stability, maturity and being interesting.  No one likes to be around a hothead, a negative person, or a drama queen.  Be the person others talk about and admire, so people will want to work with you.

CONTENT

Create interesting content for 2017 through images, creative blog posts and great social media.  Be the expert.  Give everyone a reason to return to your website weekly, to follow your adventures and admire your work.  If you don't remind the world of your existence, passion and business, then you will not matter and people will choose another creative for the project.

CONSISTENT

Everyone can put on the right attitude for a short time but only the best people turn it into a habit.  Strive to be the best you can be, not what others expect you to be. Be consistently unique in all that you do so people know what quality to expect from you - always.

COMMUNITY

You are not alone.  You were not born a photographer - you learned, you experienced and you practiced.  You are part of an industry, a community, a tribe of creatives that strive for the ultimate goal of personal success.  Be helpful, caring and in touch with those around you.  Be a leader and lose the victim mentality.  We are only successful with the help of others.

 

 

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Skip a Latte & Make a Child Smile

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Skip a Latte & Make a Child Smile

We love to help non-profits that are close to our hearts, like Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, Hope Chest and Friends of the Mustang Animal Shelter.  We even spend some time donating our talent to Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep.  None of that is for a pat on the back, but we believe it's a necessary part of any business to give back to the community.

What is really striking and cause of applause, is when a previous client gets involved in giving early in their lives, especially with children.  Today's post is about that unique person pushing themselves to be better and using their talents to help others.  That person is Daylan Whittle.

 Daylan on the set of "Bloom" during filming with Diane Kern (Wintershine Productions) in Kingfisher, OK.

Daylan on the set of "Bloom" during filming with Diane Kern (Wintershine Productions) in Kingfisher, OK.

I first met her when she was 12 years old on the set of Bloom, a film by Diane Kern.  My friend Brian Davis and I were fortunate in shooting the behind the scenes stills, as well as headshots of the actors.  We stayed in touch over the years until Daylan was a senior at Yukon High School and wanted me to shoot her last year in school.  We scheduled four sessions and created some amazing work that I still use today for presentations and workshops.

Daylan is now a student at Oklahoma University in Norman, studying Public Relations, active member of the equestrian team and still finds time to help children touched by a parent's cancer.  The main focus is to provide a safe and welcoming environment for those children to have fun and rediscover their childhood.

The story of Camp Kesem is a unique one and the only national organization focused on helping those children in this difficult family situation.  I imagine it also gives young adults a valuable grounding of the important aspects of family, love and support.

This will be Daylan's second year to volunteer at Camp Kesem, completely ran by college students.  Check out the website for the camp and please help support Daylan's efforts to help others through donations on the site.  She is looking to raise $500 this year and every dollar helps.  Don't be shy, skip a latte and help a child smile.

CLICK HERE TO SUPPORT DAYLAN'S EFFORTS

 Daylan with Lenny during her high school Senior Fashion Session.

Daylan with Lenny during her high school Senior Fashion Session.

 

 

 

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PhotoWalk at SWPPA

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PhotoWalk at SWPPA

It sounded like an April Fool’s joke when I was invited to a photowalk during the Southwest Professional Photographers Association convention in Frisco, Texas.  That was the first thing crossing my mind as the executive director was talking on the other end of the phone.  I was pleasantly surprised that the call was real and I was expected to make the photowalk a teaching program.  OK, I was very excited for this opportunity.  It was like being called up from the feeder team to play with the big boys on a regional level.  When I say “big boys”, I’m really saying amazingly talented and gifted photographers willing to share their knowledge with others.  Here is a link to the speakers that presented during the conference.

The first walk was on the evening of April 1st.  Now you can see what I thought it was a joke.  I planned for three different lighting set-ups to show how you can control exposure better in the dark since you are bringing the light.  Well, I didn’t figure in the time change that occurred a few weeks earlier.  Remember, I was planning this back in September of 2015.  We didn’t quite have the dark of night I wanted but we managed to adapt to demo different styles as we moved to the grand finale of playing with fire.  Everyone really enjoyed that part of the presentation despite me having two flashes run over by a bus.

The second photowalk was a daytime presentation on Sunday morning.  Probably a little more relaxed and more comfortable to most since you have plenty of available light.  The demos for that morning were mainly to show how to fill shadows with flash to create very natural looking portraits.  The wind was howling pretty good in Texas that morning but nothing like we deal with here in Oklahoma.  Our model Michelle was a trooper and pushed on through the dust in the eyes with constant pops of flash hitting her from all sides.

Terri and I feel it’s important to share our gifts with other photographers, specially at Professional Photographers of America sponsored events, so they may develop the skills to earn a living from this craft.  I want to thank our sponsors for the great gear that helps us create beautiful images daily.

XP PhotoGear    Interfit Photographic    Vanguard Tripods

Special kudos to Eric Epperly Models for arranging talent for the shoot. Here are a few images from the PhotoWalk and some behind the scenes shots of me in action. 

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